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The Book of YOU... The Art of Writing Memoir

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Image Courtesy of Southern Living Magazine

Step ONE in the author Elizabeth Gilbert's 10 Step Writing Academy reads as follows... "Tell your story TO someone. Pick ONE person you love or admire or want to connect with, and write the whole thing directly to them -- like you're writing a letter." She submits that this approach is the ticket for bringing forth one's natural voice. The Book of You, the latest installment in the Coudert Institute's GARDEN CHATS series, brings to the table a trio of literary minds who together share a bounty of parallel insights. We are delighted to bring this conversation to you as part of our ongoing off season programming!

"The book of YOU is the greatest gift you can give to your children, and to your grandchildren," suggests Founding Director Dale Coudert as the relaxed conversation amongst Michael Ainslie, Mary-Sargent (Didi) d'Anglejan and Myles Ludwig begins. "Turn off the television, sit down and just think about your life," further coaches Ms. Coudert as the dialogue extends. The intention behind exploring this particular topic right now is to inspire others to perhaps use the space of this global pause to begin to tell their personal narrative. As Mr. Ainslee shares in the episode, "A reason to write a memoir is that YOU know something that's generally not known."

Michael Ainslie (at right) served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby's from 1984 to 1994. Following this, he was a Director of Lehman Brothers from 1996 until its 2008 bankruptcy, and oversaw "the sale and disposition" of the company's remaining assets. Most recently, Michael is the author of the best-selling book, A Nose for Trouble (Greenleaf Books 2020), a book about accepting a challenge, redefining misfortune, and rising above. Myles Ludwig (at left) is a former professor of International Communications and Intercultural Design at Lynn University where he was the chairman of both departments and received the University's first award for Innovation. Didi D'Anglejan (center right) is the Founder and Chairman of the New York City based American Friends of Blérancourt (AFB) and the author of The French Woman's Bedroom (Doubleday, 1991).

There's nothing more terrifying than a blank page... BUT, if you sit with it things really do come back to you.

Ms. D'Anglejan, who is currently writing her own personal memoir, in the above comment and throughout the chat encourages others to get comfortable with a blank page. Didi is among the private clients with whom Myles Ludwig offers his services as an editor. "A memoir is not an autobiography," says he. "A memoir focuses on a slice of time that is important to you. It's also a gift to yourself because it helps you understand the patterns and themes of your own life." If you find yourself interested in a deeper exploration of the art and craft of the memoir, Professor Ludwig currently teaches locally on the topic at the Society of the Four Arts here in Palm Beach. He suggests two books that might be of support as you consider writing your memoir - The Art of Memoir (Harper, 2016) by Mary Karr and The Situation and the Story (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002) by Vivian Gornick.

The Coudert Institute is beyond grateful to this fabulous panel of talent for making the time to each share their unique perspectives on telling the story that is YOU. We hope that their full conversation empowers you to pick up your pen or keyboard or recording device, and begin to share your personal narrative. Step TEN in Elizabeth Gilbert's 10 Step Writing Academy? "Be willing to let it be easy. You might be surprised!"

Watch The Book of YOU Garden Chat through this link...

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